Reliance Jio, 4G network which was launched by Reliance managed to win a lot of hearts thanks to their amazing schemes and offers. Right from the onset Mukesh Ambani, the whole and soul of Reliance Jio claimed that Reliance Jio would set new trends and would bring the cheapest 4G plans to the country. People awaited the launch of Jio with bated breath and even those who were not interested in 4G services were intrigued by it all. While Reliance Jio was to be the pioneer of 4G in the country, Airtel beat them to it and that seems to have established it even firmer in Reliance’s mind that they need to make up for the lost time. Reliance launches their Reliance Jio plans in 2 phases, of which the first one was for employees and the second one was for the masses. Although many had already decided to go with Airtel, there were quite a few who decided to wait and see how this brand 4G war would pan out and would they benefit from it?
But the wait proved to be worth it. Boy, were they rewarded! Before the launch of Reliance Jio, Reliance had made quite a few claims and on the day of the launch, it stood by all its claims. It became the first carrier to offer free calling over 4G in India. Reliance kept the budget conscious Indian in mind while designing plans and also ensured that there was something even for those who wished to experiment. They announced plans starting at just Rs 249, which was almost half the price Airtel 4G, their biggest competitor was offering plans for. Also, the plan did not include only 4G internet. It included everything from calling, messaging, 4G and other services. Though the actual 1GB plan (considered to be the average use per month) plan was still for Rs 499, it seemed like too sweet a deal and Indians went completely berserk. Whenever a company launches a new plan, they have some duration during which they offer freebies or run a promotion. In the case of Reliance, it was for a whopping 4 months! Reliance Jio launched sometime in September and Reliance announced that people would be able to use the free calling services till December 2016. For Indians, Diwali had truly come a month early!
However, while Reliance made these claims and also lived up to it, there was no information provided by them on what would happen once this offer ends. Will they hike up prices of the plan? Or would calling be charged additionally? And even if there were any changes, just how much would they affect the current pricing and how high would they be. There seemed to be no sort of clarity on the issue and Reliance did not venture to volunteer any details. However, soon after launch they ran into trouble with the authorities clamping down on them for their free calling offer which fell under the promotional scheme. According to rules by TRAI, no telecommunications provider is eligible to extend any promotional offer beyond a period of 90 days. And Reliance had already flouted the rule by extending the free calling offer to December end. In keeping with the dictate, Reliance decided to backtrack and a few days ago, once again Reliance began to trend as they announced their free calling offer would end on December 3rd in keeping with TRAI rules instead of ending on 31st December.
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Though there wasn’t a huge outcry as Reliance was veering away from it’s promise, the company has once again managed to be in news with regards to their Jio plan as though they plan to end the first offer by December 3rd, it might actually not end. How? Reliance will seemingly continue to offer free calling even post December. And that too till March 2017! Reliance plans to give the same cheap Jio 4G services to users till the end of this financial year. it definitely came as a surprise once the rumours began to float. However, the news seems to be pretty valid though there has been no official confirmation regarding the same. But then, how does Reliance plan to flout the TRAI rules and continue with the offer? Well, it might not be the same Jio Welcome Offer as it is named presently and Reliance might package it differently. Also, there might be a slight revision in prices with certain rates being marginally increased. But overall, Reliance will maintain the terms and conditions of the plan and stick to its original offer. Though it is yet to be confirmed, if true, it will definitely make a whole lot of Reliance users jump with joy.
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But then, why is Reliance being so benevolent? Definitely, for a carrier, the profit is the main aim. Well, according to sources, it is not benevolence on the part of Reliance to continue with free calling over Reliance Jio but rather trying to prove itself. Although there are never-ending queues outside Reliance Jio stores for the card, the employees are already overworked due to excess demand. This has led to issues for customers right from Day 1. While it is taking not hours but rather days for Reliance Jio SIM cards to get activated, even after activation, the woes continue. People are complaining of poor network connectivity and constant call drops. There are also many who have moved to other 4G providers. TRAI recently announced that Reliance 4G speeds in the country are among the slowest offered by any and it was indeed a shame for Reliance as it launched the Jio plan with much hype. And hence, in order to stand by what they say, Reliance has decided to extend their services for another 3 months, till March 2017. Also, Reliance is trying to attract more and more users and this new extension along with improved connectivity is expected to help improve their user base and give them positive feedback.
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But what about Airtel and Vodafone, competitive carriers who had complained to TRAI about Reliance flouting the rules in the first place? Will they let Reliance go ahead with its plans or will they try and play smart? There has already been a constant war between the other 4G carriers and Reliance Jio with regards to the speeds, sharing of interconnections, and competitive rates. So then, will this new move by Reliance go smooth? But wait, since there’s no official news, does it even matter? Well, it does because according to a statement by Motilal Oswal analysts, “Mass scale free welcome offer could continue until March 2017 to attract subscriber growth towards the celebrated 100 million mark with RJio’s indicative data pricing at Rs130-140 per GB.” Well, we really do know about the carrier fights and TRAI rules but then free calls? We’re Indians and we are all ears! Hail, hail Reliance!